The Chief Executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) has said he hopes a new traffic light travel system will get people travelling again.

Eoghan O'Mara Walsh has said the best way for this to happen is for Ireland to sign up to the European system.

Although he was speaking from a tourism perspective, he said it was equally important to get international travel moving again for the wider economy, exports and foreign direct investment.

Mr O'Mara Walsh said the European framework is an important first step to recommence travel and tourism safely and this is absolutely vital to allow an island nation on the periphery of Europe stay connected. 

He said everyone accepted that public health must remain the primary concern and it is vital that a testing regime was implemented, adding that it was a source of major frustration for ITIC that not much progress had been made in this area. 

Mr O'Mara Walsh said there was capacity for testing and decisions would have to be made as to who would pay for it, whether that it is the traveller, the Exchequer or a hybrid model.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said there were around 300,000 jobs at stake and pointed out that the tourism industry alone has lost around €27m per day, every day of the summer because of the lack of international tourists.

Mr O'Mara Walsh said there was a long climb back to health but this European plan was a positive first step to allow international travel begin again.

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EU agrees new 'traffic light' travel policy for tourists

Yesterday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed that Ireland will sign up to the European Union's 'traffic light' system for travel this week, but he said airport testing will not be rolled out at this stage due to current capacity levels.

Mr Donnelly said "any testing capacity needed for travel will be over and above what we already have" and he said plans are currently being worked up in detail at the moment.

He said the Departments of Transport, Health and Foreign Affairs are examining what capacity will be needed and they are working through the testing options and the protocols.

"We are exploring PCR testing, which is the gold standard and the system that is currently used in Ireland, and we are exploring the use of antigen or lamp testing, which is essentially a rapid test," the minister said.

Mr Donnelly insisted that "testing at airports will happen because it is required as part of the protocol".

Under the traffic light system, people travelling to or from countries in the green category will not be required to restrict movements or to self-isolate.

Mr Donnelly said that for amber and red countries, the default positions around Europe will be that you need to self isolate or restrict your movements.

He said the Government is looking at "what testing protocols can be put in place, so that the need to restrict your movements doesn't happen".

From today there are no countries on the Department of Foreign Affairs travel Green List.

When countries are on the list, passengers do not have to restrict their movements on their return from those destinations.